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expert reaction to Mendelian Randomisation and GWAS study looking at the risk of depression and type 2 diabetes

A study published in Diabetes Care looks at the relationship between type 2 diabetes and depression.


Dr Paul Keedwell, Consultant Psychiatrist and Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatry, said:

“This is a very welcome study, which establishes a causal relationship between depression and type II diabetes. The inactivity, poor diet and elevated stress responses, observed in most depressive illnesses, probably make the biggest contribution to this relationship. We also know that there is an increased risk of alcohol misuse in depression, which, in turn, increases the risk of type II diabetes. Another possible contribution is antidepressant-related weight gain. These results underline the importance of yearly checks for metabolic disturbance, including type II diabetes, in individuals with chronic or recurrent depression.”


Prof David Curtis, Honorary Professor, UCL Genetics Institute, said:

“It is well known that risk of type 2 diabetes is slightly raised among people with depression and vice versa and there are a number of possible reasons why such an association might be observed. However I do not think the current study tells us anything definite about the mechanisms involved. Because the effects are fairly small I do not think that doctors need to make any changes in terms of how they deal with people with depression or diabetes. Everybody should take steps to follow a healthy lifestyle, such as eating sensibly and exercising, and such advice does not only apply to people who are diagnosed with depression.”



‘Bi-directional Mendelian randomization and multi-phenotype GWAS show causality and shared pathophysiology between depression and type 2 diabetes’ by Jared Maina et al. was published in Diabetes Care at 00:01 UK time on Thursday 7th September.



Declared interests

Dr Paul Keedwell: No declared interests

Prof David Curtis: I have no conflict of interest to declare.

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